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  • Attorney liens (also known as medical liens) and letters of protection are legal documents that ensure medical providers will be paid for treating patients who are being represented in a lawsuit, by allocating funds from any settlement that that person is given. In other words, think of them as IOUs to be paid out of any settlement that the patient is awarded.

  • Sometimes people will refer to letters or protection and attorney liens interchangeably. However, the main difference is that liens are required to be filed in the county in which the treatment is taking place, whereas letters of protection do not.

    • Medical Liens: If a patient has been injured and has subsequently hired a lawyer, Westcare will file a medical lien with the county that the office is in if the patient does not have other means of paying for treatment. If a settlement is reached, these liens legally require their allotted payment.

    • It is the responsibility of the patient’s attorney to check for any medical liens once the case has been settled.

    • Letters of Protection: Letters of protection are typically sent from Westcare directly to the patient or his/her attorney if there are no other forms of payment available. These letters must be signed by the patient’s attorney, and they work just like liens in that they allocate payment from any settlement that is awarded.

    • Even though these letters are not filed through the county, they still must be adhered to. Just as with medical liens, the patient’s lawyer should always check for any outstanding letters of protection once a case is settled.

  • Westcare Clinics are some of the few clinics that accept attorney liens and letters of protection for payment. If you have any other questions about these documents, feel free to contact the office nearest you. We currently have 5 locations throughout Washington state, and the full directory for each can be found on the Contact Us page. 

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